Brown Butter Pasta with Toasted Walnuts

Submitted by Audrey Hindes

On Thanksgiving Eve eve I was doing my best to use up all the odds and ends in my refrigerator (we had an interesting discussion in the OSP about whether it is “frig” or “fridge”) in order to make room for groceries after shopping on Thanksgiving Eve.  This is what I came up with: whole wheat spaghetti with brown butter, pecorino cheese and toasted walnuts over arugula.  It was awesome.  So awesome, that I’m sharing it with you and planning to make it again.  Was it also quick and easy?  Well, I left the office at 5:00, got home at 5:10 and we were done eating at 5:45.  Yes, I’d call that quick and easy.

Brown Butter Pasta with Toasted Walnuts

1 package pasta (14-16 oz)

½ cup (1 stick) butter, browned

Dry aged cheese (like pecorino or Parmesan) for serving

¼ cup toasted walnuts per person

1 handful arugula or other salad greens

To brown the butter: When your pasta is within 2 or 3 minutes of being done, place butter in a small saucepan on medium-low or low (depending on your stove).  Once the butter melts and foams, it will turn brown in a matter of seconds.  Swirl the saucepan continuously and once it deeply browned and smells nutty (like the movie theater) immediately take it off the heat and pour it over your cooked pasta.

To toast nuts: Place on a sheet pan and bake for 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  You can also do this on the stovetop on medium-low heat, but stir often and don’t walk away from it.

While a pot of water is coming to a boil, toast your nuts.  Cook your pasta in boiling, salted water.  Stir often and start checking it 3 minutes before the time stated on the package.  You want it chewy.  2-3 minutes before you start checking your pasta, brown your butter.  When the pasta is ready, drain and return to the cooking pot.  Pour over the melted butter and toss well.  Place a handful of arugula or other salad green on each plate, top with pasta, cheese and toasted nuts.

(I did not add any extra salt or pepper.  The pecorino I used was salty enough and arugula has a fresh pepperiness.)

Serves 4